Category Archives: Mooolelo

The Burden of Proof

The arguments for occupation and the illegality of annexation seem to be going mainstream, at least in Hawaiʻi. Keanu Sai was on the front page of the Star Advertiser, and on Hawai’i Public Radio in the same week. Journalists, while still somewhat dubious of the arguments, also appear to be noticing the establishment’s lack of a credible defense of the status quo. When asked on Hawaiʻi News Now whether the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi still exists, Governor Abercrombie simply stated, “the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi does not exist,” but provided no support for his claim. He did essentially the same thing in a letter to the Secretary of Interior, skimming over the history of annexation in a way my 11th grade students would be embarrassed to do.

At the same time, the burden of proof seems (rightly, it seems) to be on Keanu Sai and his allies to show the veracity of their claims. This is where the burden should be placed in terms of logic: the logical fallacy onus probandi* holds that “the burden of proof is on the person who makes the claim, not on the person who denies (or questions the claim).” So, again, it seems that the burden here is correctly placed. However, in international  law, when it comes to a state (nation-state or country) the burden of proof lies on the party that denies the existence of the state, the Hawaiian Kingdom in this case. This could be called the doctrine of presumption. As International law professor and Permanent Court of Arbitration (World Court) judge James Crawford states:

There is a strong presumption that the State continues to exist, with its rights and obligations, despite revolutionary changes in government, or despite a period in which there is no, or no effective, government. Belligerent occupation does not affect the continuity of the State, even where there exists no government claiming to represent the occupied State.

It seems to me that international law takes precedence in this case. Here logic and international law appear to be at odds, but this is only because the argument for the continued existence of the Kingdom is the surprising one. We must be vigilant in our arguments, because, in my view, this issue will be resolved in discourse. There are other fallacies; for example I have fallen myself for the Argument from ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam) – assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false. Because the “establishment” cannot satisfactorily explain away the claims that Sai and others bring up, does not automatically make those claims true.

*from Latin “onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat”

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55 Years of Hawaiʻi Statehood

According to Bell (1984, 38), American statehood for Hawaiʻi was discussed as early as the 1850s. The incorporation of Hawaiʻi into the United States through the 1900 Organic Act, Bell argues, included an tacit, or unspoken “assurance of ultimate statehood” (Bell, 1984, 40). Supreme Court decisions pointed to the idea that territorial status was “an intermediate step to eventual statehood” (1984, 41).

According to AhQuon McElrath: “the issue of communism was a smoke screen … They had to figure out a was of getting rid of the ILWU. So they raised the issue of communism. Of course, the anti-statehood people, most of them were anti-statehood because of the Oriental [Asian] population, jumped onto the anti-Communist issue too … it was popular … during the days of Senator McCarthy to worry about Communism” (PHS, 1986, 109).

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 12.56.51 PM

John Burns recognized opposition to statehood. He stated:

The reasons why Hawaii did not achieve statehood, say, ten years ago … [or even] sixty years ago—lie not in the Congress but in Hawaii. The most effective opposition to statehood has always originated in Hawaiʻi itself. For the most part it has remained under cover and has marched under other banners. Such opposition could not afford to disclose itself, since it was so decidedly against the interests and desires of Hawaii’s people generally (Whitehead, 1993, 44).

Governor John A. Burns

Opposition to statehood for Hawaiʻi fell into two camps – those who opposed it because they preferred the Territorial arrangement, and those who held on to the idea of a more independent Hawaiʻi. The first position was represented by a group called IMUA, or the Hawaii Residents’ Association, which the mainstream dismissed as “lunatic fringe conservatives” (Whitehead, 1993, 45).

The most outspoken voice of the second group was Alice Kamokila Campbell, who testified:
I do not feel … we should forfeit the traditional rights and privileges of the natives of our islands for a mere thimbleful of votes in Congress, that we, the lovers of Hawaii from long association with it should sacrifice our birthrights for the greed of alien desires to remain on our shores, that we should satisfy the thirst for power and control of some inflated industrialists and politicians who hide under the guise of friends of Hawaii, yet still keeping an eagle eye on the financial and political pressure button of subjugation over the people in general of these islands (Whitehead, 1993, 50).

The January 17, 1946 headline of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin read “Kamokila Opposes Island Statehood.” Campbell also created an Anti-Statehood Clearinghouse, which received testimony from members of the community, especially Hawaiians, and expressed those opinions that ordinary people could not, under fear of losing jobs or other forms of retribution. Her precise goal for Hawaiʻi is not entirely clear. At times she asked that Hawaiʻi be “left alone,” and at others she said she favored “an independent form of government, but one in which ʻthe Congress of the United States would have a slight hold on us, so that we could not go absolutely haywire.’”

KAMOKILA CAMPBELL

Alice Kamokila Campbell

Kamokila Campbell was the daughter of sugar grower and financier James Campbell and Abigail Maʻipinepine Parker, who was “descended from HawaiʻI’s ruling chiefs” (Whitehead, 1993, 47). Kamokila Campbell’s sister, Abigail Wahiikaʻahuʻula Campbell, married prince David Kawānanakoa. The Campbell children were beneficiaries of the Campbell Estate, worth approximately $20 million in the post-war period (Whitehead, 1993, 47).

George Lehlightner worked for statehood because he perceived inequalities in the Territory:
So we [the United States] were actually saying out of one side of our mouths that we were fighting a war to assure the maintenance of our own freedom and restore it to others and, yet, out of the other side of the mouth we were telling 500,000 Americans [residents of Hawaiʻi], all of whom were good and loyal citizens, that we were going to impose taxation without representation and even worse on them, and we did (Lehleitner, 1986, 12).
Lehleitner (1986, 13) also felt that the charge of anti-American sentiment in HawaiʻI was exaggerated and false:

…there was not a single case on record of any citizen [of Hawaiʻi] having done anything that could be even remotely called treasonable. And then, when you add on top of that, the fact that HawaiʻI’s population was about 40 percent of Japanese descent, 40 percent AJAs, that in itself, it seemed to me, and I so presented it to the members of Congress I spoke with, was a strong case.

The strategy pursued by John Burns and pro-Statehood Democrats was to allow Alaska to gain statehood first, rather than combining the two territories into one bill. This would split the opposition in Congress to statehood for either HawaiʻI or Alaska. This proved a successful strategy, as Hawaiʻi was made a state on August 21st, 1959.

Hawaiʻi had been on the United Nations list of Non-Self Governing territories since the 1940s. It’s removal from the list required there be three options on the plebiscite ballot: territory (commonwealth), state and independence. Because this third option was left out, the Statehood vote and Statehood itself could be seen as illegal.

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A People Without a Past: Mythology and History

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau

In 1841, historian Samuel Kamakau warned against Hawaiians becoming “a race without a history.” This nearly came to pass, and in many circles (including powerful circles in Hawaiʻi) it is as if it did. The lesson of recent findings in Hawaiian history and archaeology (meaning in the last 50 years, but especially that last 20) is that we can trust our kupuna. Scientific findings have moved closer and closer to Hawaiian understandings in topics such as migration and oral history. Even unbelievable stories can be understood to be “true” if seen as metaphors. And what have our kupuna told us? For one thing, they unequivocally stated with the Kuʻe petitions in 1897-98 that they did not want us to be Americans (or only Americans). This is a modern example that is easy understand, but it is the older stories that are more difficult to reconcile.

Joseph Campbell has shown that Hawaiian mythology has correspondences to Eastern and Western mythologies, as if connecting to a “world mind.” The world’s foremost scholar of mythology, Joseph Campbell, is buried in Hawaiʻi at Oʻahu Cemetery (as is Kamakau, interestingly). Campbell got the spark for mythology at the Museum of Natural History in New York City when he saw the dioramas of Native Americans. This led to a lifelong study of comparative mythologies – Native American, “Oriental,” Western and even Polynesian. It is this incorporation of Hawaiian myths that particularly attracted me to Campbell’s work; many thinkers have grand meta-narratives that have great explanatory power, but they nearly always fail to apply to my own Hawaiian culture, and are thus incomplete.

Campbell’s work is impossible to summarize here, but he offered much in terms of explanation of the meaning of mythological stories, including biblical ones. One explanation that particularly struck me was that of meaning of the virgin birth, which he explains through chakras. To Campbell, the virgin birth is confusing when it is seen as a physical birth

“When the symbols that a religion is tied to is connected to a history, and then that history is found to be false, the symbols also fall.” Campbell suggests that the symbols emerge not from the outside world, but from the psyche [important note: psyche means soul, not mind – psychology has forgotten its own root (see Ken Wilber’s Integral Psychology)].

“Every civilization in the world has been shaped by mythology.” People live out these mythologies. Just as Jung’s work helped Campbell to understand the psychic meaning of myths, Hawaiians can use Campbell’s work to reconcile the mythological and historical dimensions of our oral history. In short, by reconciling the metaphorical nature of or history, we can begin to trust ourselves, our kupuna and our culture.

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Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea: Restoration Day

July 31st is a Hawaiian national holiday – Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. In this post I trace some of the historical background of this event, and report on its observance on Saturday, July 26th at Thomas Square, Honolulu. The date is also being observed at National Parks on Hawaiʻi Island.

Lord George Paulet arrived from Great Britain in the year 1843. Paulet investigated British Consul Charlton’s complaints, which were that British citizens were treated unfairly by the Kingdom, and that Kalanimoku (a previous kālaimoku) had given him land and Kauikeaouli later denied Charlton’s purported land ownership “rights” Paulet’s demands were that Charlton receive lands claimed, that British citizens were only to be judged by British law, and a $100,000 indemnity payment.

Paulet stated that “If my demands are not met, I will be obliged to take coercive steps to obtain [the] measures for my countrymen.” The Hawaiian Kingdom response was to cede the Kingdom to the British military under protest on February 25th, 1843. They wrote a protest and appeal to Queen Victoria. They also wrote to reps. who were on a diplomatic trip to England, and sent a representative to the British Consul in Mexico.

The August 8th, 1843 issue of Ka Nonanona newspaper read:

AUGATE 8, 1843. Pepa 6.

MOKU MANUWA.
I ka la 26 o Iulai, ku mai la ka moku Manuwa Beritania, Dublin kona inoa. O Rear Adimarala. Thomas ke Alii. He alii oia maluna o na moku Manuwa Beritania a pau ma ka moana Pakifika nei.
I ka loaa ana ia ia ka palapala no Capt. Haku Geoge Paulet, ma ka moku Vitoria, a lohe pono oia, ua kau ka hae o Beritania ma keia pae aina, holo koke mai no ia e hoihoi mai ke aupuni ia Kamehameha III. Nani kona aloha mai i ke alii, ea! a me na kanaka no hoi.

Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III

KA HOIHOI ANA O KE AUPUNI.
Nani ka pomaikai o Kamehameha III, a me kona poe kanaka i keia wa, no ka mea, ua hemo ka popilikia, ua hoihoiia mai ka ea o ka aina. Ua pau ka noho pio ana malalo o ko Vitoria poe kanaka.
O Kamehameha III. oia ke alii nui o Hawaii nei i keia manawa. Ua kuuia ko Beritania hae ilalo i keia la, Iulai 31. 1843, a ua kau hou ia ko Hawaii nei hae. Nolaila, eia ka la o ka makahiki e hoomanao ia’e, me ka hauoli, ma keia hope aku.

My rough translation:

BATTLESHIP

Rear Admiral Richard Thomas

On the 26th day of July, a British battleship anchored here, Dublin was its name. The captain (Alii) was Rear Admiral Thomas. He is the head [alii] of the British Pacific fleet.

Lord George Paulet

In the taking of the documents of Capt. Lord George Paulet of the ship Victoria, he listened fairly [to how Paulet] raised the flag of Britain in this archipelago, [and] decided quickly to return the government to Kamehameha III. Amazing is the love of the alii for [the] sovereignty [ea]! And the people also.

THE RETURN OF THE GOVERNMENT

Splendid was the gratitude of Kamehameha III and his people at this time because the trouble [crisis, popilikia] was removed, and the sovereignty of the land was returned. Finished is the captive occupation under Victoria’s people.

Kamehameha III is the King [Ruling Chief, alii nui] at this time. The British flag is lowered [put down, kuuia] on this day, July 31st, and Hawaiʻi’s flag flies anew. Therefore, It is a day of the year to remember joyfully from this day forward.

It was at this time that Kauikeaouli made the statement that became the Kingdom’s and later the State’s motto: “Ua may ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” [The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness].  Seen in this context, it is obvious that his statement is about the return, or perpetuation, of sovereignty, and not merely a poetic statement about the “life of the land.” As I mentioned in my TED Talk, the motto of the State of Hawaiʻi is a sovereignty slogan for the Hawaiian Kingdom, which denies the existence of the State of Hawaiʻi.

Peter Young describes the feast that took place at Kaniakapupu in Nuʻuanu to celebrate the restoration of sovereignty:

271 hogs, 482 large calabashes of poi, 602 chickens, 3 whole oxen, 2 barrels salt pork, 2 barrels biscuit, 3,125 salt fish, 1,820 fresh fish, 12 barrels luau and cabbages, 4 barrels onions, 80 bunches bananas, 55 pineapples, 10 barrels potatoes, 55 ducks, 82 turkeys, 2,245 coconuts, 4,000 heads of taro, 180 squid, oranges, limes, grapes and various fruits. (source: Peter T. Young, Hoʻokuleana, LLC, 2014)

Poster for 2014 Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, honoring Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross.

Poster for 2014 Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, honoring Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross.

It wasn’t until 1987 that Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea began to be observed again. In 1988, at age 16, I attended a very early sovereignty rally with my mother, a professor of Hawaiian literature. The rally was organized by Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, who is now considered the father of the sovereignty movement. Neither I nor my mother had considered the prospect of Hawaiian sovereignty, as Hawaiʻi was still at the tail end of a process of Americanization, with “local” people trying constantly to prove they were “American enough.” Yet here was a Hawaiian, very successful in the newly-Westernized Hawaiʻi, advocating the idea of not being American at all. It was a difficult idea to grasp, but within five years the notion that some model of sovereignty would be implemented was considered inevitable.

Last year, the movement began to become nostalgic of itself, recognizing that its early leaders seemed to be reaching the end of their lives. Two men, Blaisdell and activist extraordinaire Soli Niheu were the honorees. This year, two women, Terri Kekoʻolani Raymond and Peggy Haʻo Ross were honored. Kekoʻolani spoke of others who were instrumental in the early movement, and Haʻo Ross was represented by her daughter Liliʻuokalani Ross, who gave an overview of her life and activism.

Music and commentary by Skippy Ioane, Imaikalani Kalāhele (who is a kind of Hawaiian beat poet), Liko Martin (with Laulani Teale) and others was consistent in its themes of Hawaiian steadfastness and solidarity to the concept of pono. It was preaching to the choir of course, but KITV news covered the event, spreading its reach.

2013 poster recognized Kekuni Blaisdell and Soli Niheu

2013 poster recognized Kekuni Blaisdell and Soli Niheu

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Kamehameha’s Unification – for Kamehameha Day 2014

UNIFICATION OF HAWAIʻI ISLAND

Kamehameha came of age under the rule and tutelage of King Kalaniʻōpuʻu. Following Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s death, there were certain ceremonies pertaining to the funeral and the transition of power. An ‘awa drinking drinking ceremony, for example, led to an altercation between the heir Kīwalaʻō and Kekūhaupi‘o who claimed that his chief, Kamehameha, had been insulted by Kīwalaʻō, who passed the ʻawa chewed by Kamehameha on to his aikane. Kekūhaupiʻo exclaimed “The chief has insulted us! Your brother did not chew the ʻawa for a commoner, but for you, the chief” (Kamakau, 1992, 119). The two sailed to Keʻei to avoid further conflict.

Portrait of Kamehameha I, ca. 1800

Key ali‘i involved in ensuing land division were Kīwala‘ō, Keawema‘uhili, Keōuakuahu‘ula, Kamehameha, Ke‘eaumoku and three other Kona chiefs. In reaction to the land division Keō uakuahu‘ula, who had only received the Ka ‘u district, his home district, prepared for battle because, as the son of Kalaniopuʻu and half brother of Kīwalaʻō he felt entitled to fertile agricultural lands (see Kamakau, 1992, p. 120 for Keouaʻs remarks on the land division). Keawemaʻuhili advised Kīwalaʻō not to give Kamehameha a significant amount of land, claiming, “this is not according to your father’s command. He [Kamehameha] has the god and his old lands as was commanded. You are chief over the island, I am under you, and the chiefs under us. So was your father’s command” (Kamakau, 1992, p. 119). This caused the other chiefs to rebel against the new political order. Ke‘eaumoku and three other chiefs from Kona aligned with Kamehameha, claiming that the division was “unjust,” and that they were “impoverished” by this division (Kamakau, 1992, p. 119).

In the battle of Moku‘ohai, Kīwala‘o was killed by Ke‘eaumoku while trying to save Ke‘eaumoku’s niho palaoa (whale tooth necklace that is a royal pendant) (Kamakau, 1992, 121). Ka‘ü forces cut down niu (coconut trees) at Keʻei, a challenge to the existing power structure and a “sign of war (Kamakau, 1992, p. 120). According to Kamakau, “ the coconut tree was a man … with his head buried underground, and his penis and testicles above ground (Kamakau, 1992, p. 120). There were at this point three aupuni (governments) on Hawai‘i Island:

One was led by Keawema‘uhili, Who had been captured, but allowed to escape, and whose strongholdor wahi pa‘a was Hilo, Keōuakuahu‘ula whose wahi pa‘a was Ka‘ü, and Kamehameha whose wahi pa‘a were Kohala and Kona because of the Kona uncles.

Two major battles on Hawai‘i led to an indecisive result, and the island remained as three aupuni (governments).

Kamehameha stepped back from war and focused on taking care of his aupuni – increasing its capacity for food production and thus for waging war. Challenges he faced included environmental limitations, large populations and supporting a large warrior force.

Accomplishments in overcoming these challenges included irrigation of kula lands, and the building of canoe ramps, which allowed for the launching of Kamehameha’s massive fleet of 800 pelelu canoes from the rocky coasts of West Hawai’i.

Meanwhile on O‘ahu, a conflict between Kahekili’s protégé Kahāhana and the priest Ka‘ō pulupulu was coming to a head. Kahekili prepared to launch an attack and asked for assistance from Kamehameha but received it instead from Keawema‘uhili and Keō uakuahu‘ula. With their assistance Kahekili captured O‘ahu.

FOREIGN VISITORS 1778 – 1796

Kuykendall (1938) lists the foreign ships to arrive in Hawaii, and also the Hawaiians who left on ships, noting that the first Hawaiian to leave Hawaii on a foreign ship was a woman, who was hired as a maid for the wife of a ship captain. La Perouse was third. Simon Metcalf took revenge on Hawaiians who had stolen a ship and killed one of his sailors, resulting in the Olowalu massacre, in which between fifty and one hundred Hawaiians were lured into paddling their canoes to one side of his ship, and then opened fire on them. Metcalf had earlier whipped Kameʻeiamoku with a rope for a minor/petty infraction, and Kameʻeiamoku vowed revenge on the next foreign ship, which coincidentally was the Fair American a sloop/schooner captained by Metcalf’s son. All of the crew was killed except one – Isaac Davis. John Young was taken from the Eleanor at the same time and both became trusted advisors to Kamehameha.

close-up of the Fair American at Kepūwahaʻula, the Battle of the Red-Mouthed Gun

Other violent incidents occurred, but according to Kuykendall, the relations between Hawaiians and foreigners were generally good.

OLOWALU MASSACRE

In 1790, the ship Eleanor arrived at Maui. Some Hawaiians stole the ship’s longboat, and in revenge, the British massacred many Hawaiians at Olowalu, near Lahaina, Maui (Kamakau, 1992, 146). One result of this event was that Kamehameha gained Western advisors and trainers in John Young and Isaac Davis. The two British foreigners became aikane, or favorites, of Kamehameha, John Young marrying Kamehameha’s daughter. Kamehameha also received from this exchange the cannon that became so valued it was given the name Lopaka.

KEPANIWAI

Before unifying Hawai‘i Kamehameha moved on Maui, a campaign culminating in the Battle of Kepaniwai (the damming of the waters) at Iao valley.

His opponent was Kalaniküpule who was the son of Kahekili, and he had as an ally Keawema‘uhili, the ali‘i nui of Hilo. This battle did not lead to unification, but has gone down in Hawaiian history for two reasons.

One notable event was Kamehameha’s rousing speech:

I mua e nā pō ki‘i. E inu i ka wai ‘awa‘awa. ‘A‘ohe hope e ho‘i mai ai

Go forward my dear younger brothers. Drink of the bitter waters.

There is no turning back.

One significant outcome of this speech is that it became the origin of Kamehameha Schools’ motto Imua Kamehameha. The second reason this battle is notable is that it was the first time the cannon “Lopaka” was used. This cannon caused “a great slaughter” (Kamakau, 1992) and introduces the question of Kamehamehaʻs reliance on Western technology.

Iao needle, Iao valley, Maui

The result of Kepaniwai was that Kamehameha gained temporary control of Maui. Kalaniküpule fled to O‘ahu, and Kahekili received aid from Ka‘eokülani to take back Maui. While Kamehameha was on Maui Keōuakuahu‘ula attacked Kohala and Hamakua and killed Keawema‘uhili. On Moloka‘i at the time Kamehameha said “Alas! While I have been seeking new children my first born have been abandoned!”

After one last indecisive battle with Keō uakuahu‘ula, Keō ua and Kamehameha retreated. While Keō ua was traveling through ‘Ōla‘a the volcano erupted killing one-third of Keoua’s army. The footprints of some of his soldiers can still be seen in the lava. This event may have been interpreted as the goddess Pele’s favoring of Kamehameha, but it certainly affected Keoua’s ability to wage war, and influenced his next decision.

Kamehameha focused in the meantime on cultivating his and his nation’s relationship with the gods. He consulted a prophet from Kaua‘i named Kapoukahi, asking what was required in order to unite Hawai‘i Island. The prophet responded that he need to build a house for his god, i.e., a heiau for Kuka‘ilimoku. This heiau was called Pu‘ukohola, and was built at Kawaihae, Kohala. The work of building this heiau was seen as being so important that Kamehameha did not exempt himself from the work of carrying stones. He had his brother, Keli‘imaika‘i maintain the kapu for their family. When Keli‘imaika‘i tried to carry a stone, Kamehameha took it from him and threw it into the sea.

Construction of Puʻukoholā heiau by Herb Kane

For the dedication of Pu‘ukoholā Kamehameha invited Keōuakuahu‘ula to come to Kawaihae, ostensibly to co-rule. Keō ua agreed to go to Kawaihae knowing that he was going to be sacrificed. The loss of one-third of his army meant certain defeat, and his acquiescence was a means of saving his Ka ‘u people from slaughter. Keoua stopped, however, at Luahinewai on his way to Kawaihae. At this pond he performed the ritual called “death of uli,” which consisted of “cut[ting] off the end of his penis (umuʻo)” (Kamakau, 1992, p. This was a final act of defiance toward Kamehameha in that it would make his body an imperfect sacrifice and therefore make Kamehameha’s unification imperfect.

Keoua arrived at Pu‘ukohola and his entourage sailed into the bay. When Keoua jumped off his canoe, Ke‘eaumoku immediately tried to killed him with a spear. This was to prevent a face-to-face meeting between Kamehameha and Keoua. According to Kamakau “Kamehameha might not have killed him, for he loved Keoua.” Nearly all the Ka‘u chiefs were killed. Thus, by 1791 Hawai‘i Island was completely under the control of Kamehameha.

KA NAʻI AUPUNI – UNIFICATION

Kamehameha was then forced to consider one of his actions from years before. When he was a young chief he was sailing along the coast of Puna. Kamehameha called out to some fishermen feigning that he wanted to speak with them. They fled, knowing that the six-and-a-half foot tall chief wanted them as sacrifices. Chasing them, Kamehameha foot became stuck in the lava rock, and the fishermen hit him over the head with a paddle. Reflecting on this, Kamehameha realized that his actions constituted an abuse of power. As mo‘i of Hawai‘i Island, he wanted to protect his subjects from such abuses by chiefs. He declared Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the law of the splintered paddle. This law proclaimed:

“Let the old men go and lie by the roadside, let the old women go and lie by the roadside, let the children go and lie by the roadside and no one shall harm them.”[2]

Artistʻs impression of the encounter that led to Kanawai Mamalahoe, by Herb Kane

This law meant that while travelling, people were not to be attacked, but were to be fed and housed. This was his way of granting the people of Hawai‘i security and freedom; security from the abuses of chiefs, and freedom of movement.

Kahekili died at the age of 87 in Waikiki, one of the prizes of his conquests. His son Kalaniküpule and Ka‘eokülani engaged in a battle in which Ka‘eokūlani died. Kalanikūpule then controlled O‘ahu and Nā Hono a Pi‘ilani – Maui, Lana’i, Moloka‘i and Kaho‘olawe.

Kamehameha next prepared to attack O‘ahu. In 1795, Kamehameha launched the campaign that culminated in the Battle of Nu‘uanu. Kamehameha’s fleet landed and attacked Lahaina and burned all the houses, then moved on to Moloka‘i, where the final planning meeting was held. An advisor named Ka‘iana, a Hawaiian [ali‘i] who had sailed on Western ships reaching China at one point, was excluded from the meeting. Taking this as an omen that he was to be killed, he defected with the 3,500 soldiers he commanded and joined Kalanikupule.

Kahekili had anticipated this attack years earlier. He quizzed his chiefs on where they thought Kamehameha would approach. One advisor thought that Kamehameha’s strategy would be to land at Waikiki and Leahi (Diamond Head). Kahekili said that this was the correct answer. Kamehameha did indeed land at Waikiki across a three mile stretch of beach. Kalanikupule did not oppose this landing.

Kamehameha’s army camped at Leahi (Diamond Head) for three days, and then began marching toward Nu’uanu. The first battle began at Kawananakoa, at the mouth of Nu’uanu valley. Battles continued up the East side of the valley. Ka’iana died in one of these battles. Kamehameha sent his soldiers with cannons up the East rim of the valley, firing down on the O’ahu troops. Kamehameha’s forces pushed Kalanikupule’s army up toward the Nu’uanu pali (cliff). The story is often told that Kamehameha “pushed them (O’ahu soldiers) over the pali,” but many of the O’ahu soldiers may have jumped over the pali, rather than being conquered by Hawai’i’s army.

Kamehameha was now in control of all the islands except Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. He regained Maui by virtue of its belonging previously to Kalanikupule.

Kamehameha next launched an attack on Kaua‘i, but encountered a storm and returned to O‘ahu. He took yet another step back to focus on his new, large aupuni, working to restore O‘ahu’s productivity. Kamehameha’s second attempt to take Kaua‘i in 1804 was stopped by the ma‘i ‘oku‘u, an outbreak of either cholera or bubonic plague. Kamehameha caught this disease, but survived. One who did not survive, however, was Ke‘eaumoku. On his deathbed, Ke‘eaumoku warned Kamehameha that the only threat to his rule was from his own daughter, Kamehameha’s wife Ka‘ahumanu.

Despite two failed attacks on Kaua‘i, by 1810 Ka‘eokulani’s son Kaumuali‘i felt he could not evade the impending takeover of his kingdom, and agreed to meet Kamehameha at Honolulu Harbor.

UNIFICATION OF KAUA’I

“Ke alo I luna, ai’ole ke alo i lalo?” Kaumualiʻi asked “Here I am; is it face up or face down?” The new King dismissed Kaumuali’i’s acknowledgement of Kamehameha’s superiority, and Kaumualiʻi continued: “This is my gift at our meeting: the land of Kauaʻi, its chiefs, its men great and small” (Kamakau, 1992, 196). Kamehameha replied that he would not accept the offer, but requested that “if our young chief [Liholiho] makes you a visit, be pleased to receive him.” (Tresgakis, 1973, 285).

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Hiki Nō: PBS Student-Produced News Segment on the New Version of Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen

A few weeks back, my National History Day bound students and I were featured on Hiki Nō, the student-produced news program on PBS Hawaiʻi. The episode included a feature on the new version of Liliʻuokalani’s book, annotated by David Forbes. I probably overstate the differences in the new version, but the point is it goes a little deeper into the history and hopefully will stimulate more people to read her powerful book. The segment on Kamehameha begins at 17:00.

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June 12, 2014 · 4:45 am

The Race for Nationhood

There’s something happening here.

What it is ain’t exactly clear. 

Buffalo Springfield

I began to notice a little over a year ago that there was a kind of “race” on for nationhood – that is, for the kind of nation we as Hawaiians would be(come). At that time I was beginning to hear the whispers of a new strategy, post-Akaka and Inouye, for Federal Recognition through the executive branch. This was a race in itself, as Obama’s term was seen as the deadline for any action on Federal Recognition (although as the spouse of the signer of the Apology Resolution, HIlary Clinton may hold out hope for Fed Rec). But I also noticed an uptick in progress on the independence front, mainly in the work led by Keanu Sai. And it is this race between these two mutually exclusive forms of sovereignty that I focus on in this post.

This week, we hear of major developments on both fronts. This came from OHA in a joint statement by Board chair Collette Machado and CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, ostensibly showing their unified stance after Crabbe’s memo to the State Department that seemed to indicate a preference for independence:

OHA’s top leadership also applauded the Obama Administration for reaffirming the special political relationship between the federal government and the Native Hawaiian people. The federal government is considering whether to take administrative action on reestablishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians.
 “For decades, OHA and other Native Hawaiian organizations and individuals have advocated for the creation of a pathway to reestablish a formal government-to-government relationship with the United States, and to protect existing Hawaiian rights, programs, and resources,” said Machado and Crabbe.
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“Prerule” on Dept. of Interior action facilitating “government-to-government” status for the Hawaiian “community” (via Trisha Kehau Watson)

On the independence front, we hear that the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law will list Hawaiʻi in its War Report for 2013 as an occupied state (state is used here as in “nation-state” or country). The 2012 War Report listed nine “belligerent occupations,” i.e., occupations by warring states. Hawaiʻi is considered in this view as being occupied belligerently because it was a neutral country being pulled into the Spanish-American War in 1898. Other occupations in 2012 included:
Azerbaijan by Armenia; Cyprus by Turkey; Eritrea by Ethiopia; Georgia by Russia; Lebanon by Israel; Moldova by Russia; Palestine by Israel; Syria by Israel; and Western Sahara by Morocco (hawaiiankingdom.org/blog).
While a seemingly academic report, because the Academy is based in Geneva, it will certainly be read by United Nations officials, and thus has the potential to change the dialog on Hawaiʻi’s status. The video discusses the 2012 Report, but is instructive in terms of the agenda (or lack thereof) of its assemblers.
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It is possible that the Obama Administration’s sudden interest stems from the growing knowledge of the idea of occupation, and possibly even from the report itself. It is in this sense that I use the term “race” – a (probably unwitting) contest between two mutually exclusive approaches to nationhood, the stakes of which could well leave a permanent mark on the direction of Hawaiʻi’s status under national and international law.
The War Report is available from Oxford University Press for £39.99.

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The State of History

On May 4th at the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival I was on a panel, with three other Hawaiian history scholars, which focused on the use of sources in historical research. It asked the very pertinent questions:

What Are the Indispensible Resources for Hawaiian History?What are the existing must-read publications for those working in Hawaiian history, or simply interested in it? What important new resources will we have access to soon? What do Hawaiian-language sources offer those who can read them? Just how much are we really missing by not having access?

And concluded:

The four panelists are all currently conducting research into diverse nineteenth and twentieth century Hawaiian cultural and historical topics, and will share their own experience of finding their way through the whole range of materials, good and bad, now publicly available, and also how they deal with the inevitable gaps they encounter.

My remarks began with a stark assessment of the state of Hawaiian history as a field. I pointed out that there have only ever been three (or possibly four) people ever employed specifically as Hawaiian historians at a “research 1” university – Pauline King, Noelani Arista and John Rosa (one might count Ralph Kuykendall, M.A., but one would do so at oneʻs own peril). I stated that this is only true if one takes such disciplinary boundaries seriously – which I do and donʻt (such boundaries have significance, but so too do interdisciplinary studies). Rosa’s position had to be specially created by the State Legislature – thatʻs my point; it’s not automatic that there are Hawaiian historians.

Prof. John Rosa

As I mentioned in my debate with Ian Lind, it was confided to me that King was hired to “do in” Hawaiian history – she produced no original publications in her long career. Ronald Williams was the first PhD to graduate from a program specifically focusing on Hawaiian history (this is partly because they had only recently hired Arista and Rosa to supervise such a program). Of course there are those with history degrees who teach in Hawaiian Studies. Jonathan Osorio, who was the moderator of the program approached me afterward and said “you know that Lilikalā [Kameʻeleihiwa], Kanalu Young and myself all have history degrees and consider ourselves historians?” And of course I did know that, but the fact that he included the late Kanalu Young on the list only underscores my point. Add them and we have six, one deceased. And there are others, such as political scientists Keanu Sai or Noenoe Silva, who said in a class once “Iʻm not a historian but I may as well be.” But we are talking about a dozen scholars at best, compared to tens of thousands of scholars in US history, for example.

What this means is Hawaiian history as a field is, as I perhaps controversially stated, that is both in its infancy and is an amateur undertaking. It is only recently becoming professionalized as a field. The vast majority of books on Hawaiian history are written by amateurs and/or outsiders with little grasp of the nuances stemming from the dominance and suppression of the Territorial period. While the professional historians can only do what they are capable of given the slow pace of publication and constraints of academia, the effect in the community is that there is little “trickle down” of good research into the lower levels. With so few top-level researchers, there truly is nothing but a trickle of new historical perspectives. And in this case it truly is a top-down situation. Amateurs cannot be expected to devote the time and resources to study that are available to a professional historian.

The result is graduates who go on to high positions in government and the corporate sector who exhibit very shaky understandings of how we got where we are as a society. Many become interested in, even passionate about history as adults (by which time it’s too late), but in school it is, as portrayed in the film History Boys, “just one bloody thing after another.”

There is an infrastructure of knowledge, a “house of intellect” as Jacques Barzun called it, and reasons why we know what we know. We canʻt take this house for granted – the Lahainaluna scholars knew this, as did Kauikeaouli, who said “he aupuni palapala koʻu” [mine is a kingdom of learning]. This vision was invested in, as we still reap its rewards a century and a half later. There seems to be – across the board, not just in Hawaiʻi – a nonchalant squandering of the gains made over history in labor rights, environmental protections, civil liberties, and social justice by a generation of profit-seekers who ignore or are ignorant of history. These people, in whom most power is invested, imperil us all with their proclivity to proverbially “repeat history.” We must demand that history not be completely over shadowed by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields in the name of “twenty-first century” skills, if we want that century to be better than the last.

UPDATE: Arnie Saiki had this response on the Statehood Hawaiʻi Facebook page, which raises very valid counterarguments and gives me a chance to clarify my position:

I think there are a lot of people who do contribute to the growing canon of Hawaiian history, and follow well disciplined methodologies, as well as pave the way for methodologies that speak to cultural, linguistic, customary practice.

What … strikes me about Hawaiian history is just how much work has been done for a place that boasts a little more than a million people. Although I have not done a full accounting of library catalogs, it seems that there is more historical work produced on Hawaiian history than most states. Granted there is likely a political reason as to why that is, an element that sought to make Hawaii “knowable” to colonial settlers, but it seems that in regard to Hawaii, everything that was recordable was recorded, and it is relatively easy to access. 

Its very true that there is a fascination with Hawaiian history that does not exist in other states – a fact evidenced by a Facebook group I started called Mooolelo: Hawaiian History, which grew to 500 members within a couple of months. But it’s important to remember that this is a national history, and should thus be compared to other national histories (I think of New Zealand, for example), than to other states. In the case of New Zealand, a close look at the historical work there shows a depth that Hawaiʻi could only envy. This is in a country that, while larger than Hawaiʻi, has the same population as the average US state.

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The Lind-Perkins sovereignty debate: The Sovereignty Movement is based in Historical and Legal Fact, not Faith

This is the fourth installment (the second of mine) in the emerging debate between myself and Civil Beat journalist Ian Lind. It is also available at The Hawaiʻi Independent.

I would like at the outset to express my appreciation that Ian Lind’s response to my rebuttal in The Hawaiʻi Independent was, in the spirit of its publisher, civil. These types of debates were common during the heyday of Hawaiian newspapers in the nineteenth century. Such debates are healthy and central to a democratic society, which suggests the Hawaiian monarchy period was more democratic (with a small d) then is often thought. It also holds out hope for a flourishing of new voices in this age of new media.

While I have no interest in debating the sovereignty issue “endlessly for another century,” no one (at least no one very credible) held against the Jewish people the desire to recreate a state two thousand years after the fact. I would argue that the overthrow really wasn’t that long ago – my grandmother was six years old when Liliʻuokalani died, and she lived until 2002 – it’s nearly in living memory. But Lind’s response demanded, and rightly so, a much more thorough examination of the historical and legal questions, particularly that of annexation.

Lind concludes after a discussion the Larsen case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, that “It’s hard to say where [the] notion comes from” that a treaty is required to annex territory, and that “no authority is offered for this rather surprising assertion.” It’s true I offered no authority, and that’s because it’s not a surprising assertion at all, but rather a standard, accepted principle of international politics. Congressional authority is restricted to US territory and simply does not extend to a foreign country, even (or especially) one in which the US aided an overthrow. The role of Congress (the Senate only) consists of the approval of treaties, which alone are international law. Anything else – an “Act of Congress,” even less a joint resolution – is mere domestic law, not applicable in foreign territory. Professor Lassa Oppenheim, author of International Law (1948), explains that, “cession of State territory is the transfer of sovereignty over State territory by the owner-State to another State,” and that the “only form in which a cession can be effected is an agreement embodied in a treaty between the ceding and the acquiring State.”

In June, 1898, during the debates over the Newlands Resolution, Senator Augustus Bacon stated that “a joint resolution for the annexation of foreign territory was necessarily and essentially the subject matter of a treaty, and that it could not be accomplished legally and constitutionally by a statute or joint resolution. If Hawaii was to be annexed, it ought certainly to be annexed by a constitutional method; and if by a constitutional method it can not be annexed, no Senator ought to desire its annexation sufficiently to induce him to give his support to an unconstitutional measure.” Congressman Thomas Ball of Texas concurred, calling the Joint Resolution “a deliberate attempt to do unlawfully that which can not be done lawfully.”

Lind cites the DeLima v. Bidwell case, but this was in 1901, after annexation, is still domestic, and was one of the “insular cases” depriving Territorial citizens of the full rights of U.S. citizens. It is consequently not an authoritative case on the matter of annexation, but rather a historically notorious case of the abuse of US “possessions.” Further, all territory acquired by the US was done so by treaty (including some of conquest) except for, ostensibly, Hawaiʻi.

Citing US Supreme Court cases as support for his contentions is itself a “matter of faith” that neglects the very fundamental fact that there were two countries involved in the annexation, thereby making this an international legal issue. This is like asking one boxer in a fight to determine the rules of victory after the fact. In contrast, I would cite a text that all can agree is a credible source: the international law text used at the Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa, International Law and Litigation in the U.S. co-authored by the well-known, late Professor Jon Van Dyke. It notes that the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 27 states that “a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty.” While the Convention has not been ratified by the United States, “it is cited by US Courts and the Executive view is that much of the treaty on treaties is customary international law.”

Supreme Court decisions do not modify this customary international law that has developed the international system. In a 1988 memorandum entitled “Legal Issues Raised by Proposed Presidential Proclamation To Extend the Territorial Sea,” Acting US Assistant Attorney General Douglas Kmiec stated:

Congress approved the joint resolution and President McKinley signed the measure in 1898. Nevertheless, whether this action demonstrates the constitutional power of Congress to acquire territory is certainly questionable. … It is therefore unclear which constitutional power Congress exercised when it acquired Hawaii by joint resolution.

And then there was the secret session on annexation of the US Senate in 1898 (the record of which was unsealed in 1969). Behind closed doors, the Senate discussion comprises about 80 pages of text and is difficult to summarize, but the entire text can be seen here. The following quote from Senator John Tyler Morgan strongly suggests that Congress, in fact, did not annex Hawaiʻi. The Senate empowered the President, it appears, to occupy Hawaiʻi, for that is all the executive branch can do. If the President could annex alone, McKinley would have done so – he had already signed the treaty.

Mr. MORGAN. … the President having no prerogative powers, but deriving his powers from the law, that Congress shall enact a law to enable him to do it, and not leave it to his unbridled will and judgment … When he is in foreign countries he draws his powers from the laws of nations, but when he is at home fighting rebels or Indians, or the like of that, he draws them from the laws of the United States, for the enabling power comes from Congress, and without it he cannot turn a wheel.

In addition to showing the limits of the executive and legislative branches, the debate transcript notes Hawaiʻi’s continued neutral status even after the overthrow, and the Senate’s concern over the violation of this status. This is not a legal issue, but it is worth noting that John Tyler Morgan, leader of the annexationist cause in the Senate, was a high ranking “Dragon” of the Ku Klux Klan for the State of Alabama, according to Authentic History: Ku Klux Klan, by Susan Davis (1924).

Senator Richard Pettigrew, an opponent of annexation, asked about the wisdom of bringing neutral Hawaiʻi into a conflict simply for coaling in the Spanish-American war:

Mr. PETTIGREW: Why are there not ten thousand to twelve thousand tons of coal there [in “Unalaska”] eight hundred miles nearer Manila than at Honolulu in a foreign territory? Why bring Hawaii into this complication? Why embarrass that feeble republic, or monarchy, or oligarchy, or whatever it is, with our presence? Why sail eight hundred miles out of the way in order to relieve Dewey? Why did we not sail straight there, coal in our own territory …?

Lind balks at my quotation marks around “annexation,” but he puts them around the overthrow, the legality of which is an absolutely settled issue. In the 1993 Apology Resolution, Public Law 103-150 (which, like the 1898 Newlands Resolution of annexation is just a statement), the United States “apologize[d] to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii [sic] on January 17, 1893 with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States.”  It notes that this “resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty and the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination” (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-107/pdf/STATUTE-107-Pg1510.pdf).

It requires a kind of double think to believe that while the overthrow was illegal, annexation was somehow legal. But that seems to be what the majority (though perhaps not Lind) believes occurred – an illegal overthrow followed by a legal annexation. I focused on the lack of a treaty precisely because the history of the overthrow is well-known, while less well-known is the idea that annexation was illegal on its own terms.

Lind concluded his response with the questions: “What if sovereignty isn’t self-evident? And what if it only counts if it addresses the problems that afflict so many Hawaiians in the 21st Century?” Sovereignty isnʻt self-evident if one party in the dispute is to be the arbiter of all rules, rather than using the rules of the system that the nearly 200 countries now in existence, in the very large majority of cases, follow. As for solving problems, I do not view sovereignty as a panacea. It could solve some problems, and likely would create many. But note that no decolonized country has ever asked its colonial overlord to return. Sovereignty is simply a recognized status that Hawaiians wanted to retain in 1898, as evidenced by the Kūʻē petitions, and that  has been repeatedly asserted by Hawaiians today in various forms.

I will conclude with some questions of my own. If a treaty was not required to annex Hawaiʻi, then why did the US try to perform a treaty twice? The first treaty was withdrawn by President Cleveland in 1893 and the second was killed in the Senate in 1897. If a treaty was not required, why did both sides pretend after the fact that there had been one? Lorrin Thurston wrote in his 1904 book of the same title, that one of the Fundamental Law[s] of Hawaii was an “1897 Treaty of Annexation.” Sanford Dole later helped erect a statue of William McKinley at the renamed Honolulu High School that holds a “treaty of annexation” in its hand. In 1902, the US State Department published a History of the Department of State, which maintains, erroneously, that Hawaiʻi was annexed by treaty.

Not all the historical facts are on the side of the sovereignty movement. It’s true, for instance, that several countries recognized the Republic of Hawaiʻi. This is problematic, and it is quite unclear how much those countries knew about the specifics of annexation. But by far the bulk of evidence, as I have set forth, supports the movement’s claims. What we have is a subjugated history, one that is exacerbated by focusing on the claims of one part of the larger sovereignty movement, with whose claims one disagrees. The larger movement itself is based not on faith, but on historically and legally sound reasoning.

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Melville in Hawaiʻi

When E.L. Doctrow said on the Charlie Rose show that Moby Dick was the greatest American novel and that Melville had accomplished something truly monumental (which, of course, was not recognized in his time), I resolved to finally read the book. Along the way I developed something of an obsession with this introverted and under appreciated writer. I visited his home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts – the town next to the one my wife is from, and the one she was born in. I stood in the room where he had written the Great Book, and on the piazza where he had written The Piazza Tales. I stood in the house at Tanglewood – summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox and Stockbridge – which was rented by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a friend and supporter of Melville’s literary career, whom Melville would have visited around 1850.

Herman Melville, ca. 1860

Melville’s brief brush with fame, which allowed him to write Moby Dick, obviously stemmed from his experiences in the Pacific, but one of his lesser-known visits was to Hawaiʻi in 1843. It was an auspicious year, and Melville was privy to the Paulet Affair (which Iʻve written about in these “pages” more than once). On February 14th, 1843, Lord George Paulet seized the sovereignty of Hawaiʻi in response to complaints of the British Consul that the Kingdom had rescinded a grant of land (the 1840 Constitution held that the king controlled all land). His experiences were recounted in an appendix to Typee. Melville was present for the end of the affair, when Hawaiians in their joy reveled in what Melville described as a kind of “Polynesian saturnalia.” He tells of ten days of “universal broad-day debauchery” (see Stephen Sumida’s  And the View from the Shore: Literary Traditions of Hawaiʻi).

What Melville (who has been lauded as a beacon of racial tolerance in part because of his autobiographical friendship with Queequeg – probably a Maori – in Moby Dick) failed to comprehend was Hawaiians’ periodic episodes of free and open sexual contact. Kaimipono Kaiwi has written, in bold defiance of received wisdom that Melville was a racist. Certainly his account of the first Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Restoration Day) throws his tolerant image into question.

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